Munster SHC final: red-hot Rebels retain crown

July 01, 2018

Cork's Sean O'Donoghue with Peter Duggan of Clare.
©INPHO/Morgan Treacy.

Cork came from eight points down to overpower Clare by 2-24 to 3-19 in a thrilling final at sunny Semple Stadium.

With 45,364 looking on in glorious sunshine, the losers seemed to be on course for a first provincial title in two decades when John Conlon's point had them eight ahead after 34 minutes, but the slick holders were in front 13 minutes later and roared to their second successive Munster championship and 53rd in total. Trailing by four at the interval, Cork were simply immense in the second half of what was a repeat of the 2017 decider.

Captain Seamus Harnedy led by example, notching 1-4 and setting up the winners' crucial first goal on the stroke of half time, while the unerring Patrick Horgan was on target eleven times.

Goals from David Reidy and Peter Duggan and five points from play by Conlon ensured Clare of a 2-11 to 1-10 interval lead, with Luke Meade netting for the Leesiders and Horgan drilling over six points.

Harnedy opened the Rebels' account on five minutes but Duggan (free) and Conlon registered either side of that to give the Banner the lead. Meade pointed from near the sideline to make it two apiece and Daniel Kearney cancelled out Duggan's second point.

A wonderful Conlon brace had the challengers' ahead by five points to three after twelve minutes but the Rebels hit back with a Horgan brace - a routine free followed by an excellent point across the shoulder. The match exploded to life when Reidy finished superbly to the net from 15 yards in the 16th minute at the end of a great run, followed immediately by Conlon's fourth point from play - 1-6 to 0-5.

Cork's Seamus Harnedy and Eoin Cadogan celebrate with the trophy. ©INPHO/James Crombie.

Horgan and Duggan traded frees three times and Reidy replied when Horgan clipped over a tidy score from play. The Banner claimed their second three-pointer three minutes from the interval when goalkeeper Donal Tuohy's long punt was finished magnificently to the net by Duggan to propel them into a seven-point lead.

Conlon's fifth was worthy of the fist pump that followed but the Rebels grabbed a lifeline on the stroke of half time when Meade finished to the net after excellent vision from Harnedy. A wonderful first half received the denouement it deserved when Mark Coleman scooped over a magical sideline cut from halfway.

Darragh Fitzgibbon's stunning point upon the restart and another Horgan effort - his third from play - meant the Rebels had registered 1-3 without reply either side of the interval to move within two; a Horgan '65' halved that deficit; Conor Lehane got in on the scoring when replying to Duggan's free and Horgan won and converted an excellent free to tie the scores up on 44 minutes, 1-15 to 2-12.

Harnedy's second completed the comeback as Cork moved ahead and Duggan - already on 1-6 - surprisingly missed a couple of chances before Fitzgibbon added to the Rebels tally with a majestic score. John Meyler's mighty men had outscored the Banner by 1-8 to 0-1 between the 34th and 50th minutes but Reidy got Clare motoring again, only for Horgan to reply - 1-18 to 2-13 going into the fourth quarter.

When the Banner County equalised via Colm Galvin and substitute Conor McGrath, Harnedy propelled the Rebels into a three-point lead by rattling the net twelve minutes from time. Podge Collins and Kearney swapped points and the holders led by three points with an hour played, 2-19 to 2-16.

Harnedy supplied the insurance point, bringing his tally to 1-3 from play; inspirational wing back Coleman replied from his own '65' to a Tony Kelly point and Collins' goal effort flew over the bar before the on-fire Harnedy replied with the sweetest of strikes four minutes from the end, 2-22 to 2-18.

Horgan (free) lofted over his eleventh point in the 70th minute following an exchange between Duggan (free) and Bill Cooper. Ian Galvin's goal for Clare in the third of three added minutes reduced the arrears to two but it was a mere consolation and there was no sting in the tail as the ravenous Rebels retained the silverware.

Cork - A Nash; C Spillane, D Cahalane, S O'Donoghue; C Joyce, E Cadogan, M Coleman (0-2, 1sl); D Fitzgibbon (0-2), B Cooper (0-1); L Meade (1-1), D Kearney (0-2), S Kingston; P Horgan (0-11, 6f, 1'65), C Lehane (0-1), S Harnedy (1-4). Subs: R O'Flynn for S Kingston, M Cahalane for L Meade, L McLoughlin for D Kearney, D Brosnan for L McLoughlin.

Clare - D Tuohy; J Browne, P O'Connor, D McInerney; J Shanahan, C Cleary, S Morey; C Galvin (0-1), C Malone; P Duggan (1-7, 0-6f), T Kelly (0-1), D Reidy (1-2); P Collins (0-2), J Conlon (0-5), S O'Donnell. Subs: J McCarthy for C Malone, C McGrath (0-1) for S O'Donnell, D Fitzgerald for J Shanahan, D Corry for D Reidy, I Galvin (1-0) for C Cleary.

Referee - J McGrath.

Most Read Stories